Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Once upon a time, pop music sensation Lady Gaga wore a dress made out of meat. With her new album coming out May 23, New York Magazine asked 20 fashion designers and artists “to try to top said meat dress” and submit designs of the pop star. Above is Jim Lee’s very 1990s Image design, and you can also see dresses by Tim Hensley, Molly Crabapple, Ariel Schrag, Mike Keefe, Vanessa Davis and many more.
Bluewater Productions publishes comic book biographies of popular figures, from Hilary Clinton to Stephenie Meyer, and many of them (such as the Meyer comic) are unauthorized. Now Rich Johnston reports that attorney Kenneth Feinswog has sent the company cease-and-desist notices on behalf of clients who apparently don’t appreciate getting the Bluewater treatment: Lady Gaga, the subject of a recently published comic, and Justin Bieber, whose bio-comic is due in October. Both comics are unauthorized biographies.
Feinswog’s claim seems to be that the comics are trademark infringements and violate the performers’ intellectual property and likeness rights.
Bluewater Publisher Darren G. Davis wouldn’t talk to Johnston, but he did confirm that he had received the cease-and-desist orders and offered a response to MTV’s Splash Page. His defense is that the works are bona fide biographies and are therefore protected under the First Amendment:
“These are not-poster books and as it was explained to the licensing lawyer, Kenneth Feinswog, it tells the story of [Bieber’s] life in 22 pages,” he continued. “We offered to send him a copy of the book before it went to print. We have been offered deals with poster books, sticker books and we had to turn them down because we know we do not have the rights to that. But doing an unauthorized biography we are in full within our rights.”
Davis also offered the theory that the reason for the action is that Bluewater’s comic is competition for Bieber’s memoir Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever, which is due out this fall, as are several other books about the 16-year-old singer.
There is some precedent for this, but not in Feinswog’s favor. In the late 1990s, Revolutionary Comics produced Rock ‘N’ Roll Comics, unauthorized biographies of rock musicians. Feinswog sued on behalf of New Kids on the Block and Motley Crue, claiming trademark infringement, but the court ruled in favor of the comics. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), Bluewater recently acquired the rights to the Revolutionary line.
“Bad Romance” yes! Bad comics no! Making its debut at last weekend’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival, Prison for Bitches is a no-holds-barred fanzine tribute to Lady Gaga. Taking its name from a segment in Gaga and Beyoncé’s instant-classic “Telephone” video and edited by Same Hat!’s Ryan Sands and newly minted Doug Wright Award winner Michael DeForge, the ‘zine contains artistic tributes to Lady Gaga from a host of underground art and comics stalwarts and up-and-comers, including Johnny Ryan, Michael Kupperman, Hellen Jo, Lisa Hanawalt, and Nick Gazin.
The book’s slated to go on sale online today; in the meantime, click the link for sample spreads, and click here for DeForge’s strip, which foresees another 86 years of world domination by the Haus of Gaga. (And click here for previous Robot 6/Gaga goodness.) Don’t be the last little monster on your block to get a copy!
From deviantART to The New Yorker, artists and cartoonists keep dialing G for Gaga. In the wake of Jonas Åkerlund’s epic video for Gaga & Beyoncé’s duet “Telephone” a bumper crop of artistic tributes has blossomed. We’ve already rounded up a few early highlights; consider this the remix.
Chances are you’ve carved nine minutes out of your schedule over the past few days to watch director Jonas Åkerlund’s mind-melting video for Lady Gaga & Beyoncé’s “Telephone.” Naturally, the combination of Tarantino-esque exploitation-cinema homages, hilariously overt product placement, lesbian chic, outright silliness (“Let’s Make a Sandwich”!), and utterly fabulous outfits has fired the imaginations of artists around the Internet.
Above is an adorable, lusciously colored tribute to “Telephone”‘s dynamic duo by deviantART member Yamino. The piece got the attention of Lady GaGa herself, who called it “completely brilliant”, and blasted Yamino’s homepage to her three-million-plus Twitter followers.
I’m also rather fond of deviantARTist HamletMachine’s comics-inspired take on the video …